For the second time in California’s history, following President Donald Trump’s denial of requests to fly Pride flags above U.S. embassies, Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration raised the flag above the California State Capitol on June 17 in celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
According to Newsom’s op-ed published June 26 in Newsweek, California has played a crucial role in the history of the U.S. LGBTQ+ movement. In 1978, the Pride flag was first flown in San Francisco at what was then the Gay Freedom Day parade. Just 12 years later, a group of California legislators and activists worked to get the Pride flag raised for the first time over the state Capitol.
According to a June 17 press release from Newsom’s office, the raising of the flag affirms California’s support for the LGBTQ+ community.
The choice to raise the flag is important not only in representing the state of California but also in sending a message of progress, according to state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, in the press release. In his op-ed, Newsom said flying the Pride flag “reminds us to celebrate how far we have come and strengthen ourselves for how far we have to go.”
“By flying the pride flag over the State Capitol, we send a clear message that California is welcoming and inclusive to all, regardless of how you identify or who you love,” Newsom said in the press release.
Although June 17 marks only the second time in state history that the Pride flag has been raised above the Capitol, the state of California has previously flown the flag on balconies both inside and outside of the state Capitol building in celebration of Pride Month, according to the press release. In June 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, the state Capitol was illuminated in rainbow colors as a symbol of support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Many states, such as Michigan and Colorado, have taken similar steps to celebrate Pride Month by flying the Pride flag above state buildings. In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis, raised a Pride flag decorated with the state logo at the Colorado State Capitol.
The Pride flag will be flown atop the California State Capitol until the end of Pride Month.
“Seeing the Pride flag prominently flown at the Capitol reminds people everywhere that while some states and the federal government dehumanize LGBTQ people, California stands firmly for equality and inclusion,” Wiener, chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, said in the press release.